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Business

A New Spin on Networking for Creative Entrepreneurs

We were about a year into Idealust and we had some BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals), thank you Jim Collins for this fun acronym. (If you haven’t read it yet, check out Built to Last.)

One of those goals had a lot to do with teaching what we knew, in person. Hanging out with awesome creatives, in person. Speaking at conferences, in person. Having real conversations with, laughing with, sometimes crying with (you know how it goes!), empowering and being inspired by our industry peers, in person.

(I’m so grateful our work has paid off and we’ve been a part of incredible events that we believe in, like Creative at Heart, The Yellow Conference, The Together Experience… AND, probably even more importantly, we’ve built some incredible friendships because of it.)

In order for that to happen, we had to get out there and do some “networking.”

Bleh. Networking. You feel me?!

That word still rubs me the wrong way. All I can think of is corporate 9-5ers congregating on a hotel patio, standing there at belly bar tables in their suits and pencil skirts (I actually really like pencil skirts, don’t get me wrong!), twirling drink straws, reciting their resumés and sliding business cards across the table. It’s like it just doesn’t fit in our industry.

So, early on, Jesse and I decided we needed a new spin on networking for creative entrepreneurs. We needed to think of it differently.

Not ditch it completely. (Introverts! Did you hear me?! Don’t ditch it completely!!)

Networking is a must whether you’re working on booking speaking engagements or hoping to book your calendar full of incredible clients.

Without it, you’re leaving incredible friendships, business opportunities, money, freedom and fulfillment on the table. I’m guessing you’re not okay leaving those things on the table 😉

I’ve done a lot of networking in my 9 years as a creative entrepreneur, and I’ve definitely felt all of these things along the way:


  • Awkward (Like, seriously awkward!!)
  • “Why the heck am I here?!”
  • Not good enough

But now, NOW!, when I network I feel:

  • Empowered
  • Confident
  • Still a tiny bit nervous sometimes, but an excited nervous instead of a “I think I’m going to hide in the bathroom” nervous

I feel these things not because we’re business coaches for creatives and have all the answers (we don’t have all the answers) but because we take a different approach than a lot of other people in the room.

Networking for creative entrepreneurs isn’t about:

  • Handing out as many business cards as possible…
  • Talking about yourself…
  • Bragging…
  • Name dropping…
  • Trying to prove yourself, your business or your worth to anyone…

Yikes. No wonder networking makes so many people nervous. When you look at it like the above list, you’re really putting the pressure on!

So, how do you make all those potentially awkward introductions and conversations feel easy and natural? I’ve found the best way to feel comfortable and confident is to make someone else feel comfortable and confident!

Networking tips for creative entrepreneurs

  • Seek out anyone gravitating toward the corner; make her smile! (This might be a genuine compliment about how you love her bright blue coat or an opening one-liner about how these sort of events sometimes make you want to hide in the bathroom.)
  • Focus on making 1-2 solid connections per event you attend
  • Start real conversations beyond small talk
  • Ask for their business cards and/or Instagram handle. (I usually pull out my phone and follow them on IG right away and go back later to engage more with their recent posts.)
  • Follow up with your new connections right away
  • Not every conversation needs to be about business. In fact, I’ve found the best networking has come from talking to my new friends about things new friends talk about
  • If you do talk about business, find out what they’re excited about! What they’re working on! Is there anything you can do for them? Introduce them to a copywriter if they need a copywriter?
  • Keep your eye out for new people you can refer work to (whether a non-ideal client inquires with you or you’re booked out.)
  • If you’re a planner and need to feel super prepared, see who’s going to the event ahead of time and do a little scouting of attendees you’d like to get to know. Do some engaging on social media before the event so when you meet, you sort of already know each other

Moral of the story: Be a nice person. Forget about business and money and work experience and even yourself for a second. Instead, think about how you can make someone else shine.

When you take this new spin on networking for creative entrepreneurs, it works because you:

  • Build genuine friendships and business partnerships
  • Gain a reputation for being helpful
  • Make people feel comfortable and people don’t remember what you say, they remember how you made them feel
  • Are revealing authenticity and building credibility as someone who’s not just out to get theirs
  • Will stay on people’s minds because of all of the above and therefore, eventually, book more business because of it all. Because, in the end, as Marie Forleo always says, people do business with people they know like and trust.

    [blockquote cite=”Maya Angelou” type=”center”]“I’ve learned people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”[/blockquote]
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Business

5 Ways Creative Entrepreneurs Can Get Fast Referrals

More, more, more! Everyone wants more! More clients! More reach! More likes + comments! More followers! More money for more vacations! I get that. I often find myself in that same spot, thinking…

How can we improve our business? How can we refine our processes to influence even more creative entrepreneurs? How can we increase our numbers so we can build that savings account and retirement fund even faster?

I want you to STOP for a second. I want us to stop for a second.

We have everything we need, right now.

Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like it. But, there are incredible opportunities at our fingertips. Referrals, relationships, inquiries…there, waiting for us!

So, how do experience all the goodness that’s waiting for us? Well, we want to share with you 5 ways creative entrepreneurs can get fast referrals…

  1. Take a look at your inbox…what relationships are sitting in there, waiting to be nurtured? Who can you encourage? What action can you take to help someone who needs it? Who can you send a genuine referral to? Who can you connect with someone else you know?
  2. Take a look at your current clients (whether that’s 2 or 20)…who can you reach out to to show you care? How can you over-deliver on your promises + contract? How can you answer their questions before they have to ask so they feel super taken care of? How can you treat your client more like you’d treat your friend?
  3. Take a look at the networking event you’re going to this month…who’s going to be there that you’ve been wanting to connect with? How can you offer value to someone you look up to? What can you do to make their life easier or better? Who can you start engaging with on social media before your next event?
  4. Take a look at your Instagram comments…who’s been cheering you on? How can you return the favor? Who have you met in the last couple of weeks that you can go encourage on Instagram? How many supportive comments and genuine connections can you make in one day?!
  5. Take a look in the mirror…have you been giving your all to everything you already have? The opportunities? The relationships? The clients? The hours you put in working? Are you scrolling Facebook when you should be working? Are you feeling sluggish and need to go for a run before getting back to work? What do you need to do to function at your best?

More is out there, waiting for you. There are people looking for YOU! And, I know it’s tempting to go and try to find them all at once! I mean, there are so many rad marketing strategies waiting for you, like using Instagram stories, using video for your business in other ways, getting super smart with your social media posts, starting a newsletter, building life-giving relationships with your fellow creative entrepreneurs, giving Facebook ads a whirl…SO MANY awesome ways to show the world who you are and what you stand for and how you can make your ideal client’s life better!!! BUT…

Yes, there’s a BUT…

So often, we jump the gun and go there first. ALL of those strategies will help you grow your creative business, but, we believe it’s vital to take care of what we’ve been given, all along the way, no matter what stage of business you’re in or how much money you make.

We believe the easiest advertising you can do, the fastest way to get referrals, well, it’s at your fingertips. It’s giving your all to everything you’ve been given.

Make the most of it + I guarantee more will come your way!

Categories
Business

My 5 wisest words of advice for creative entrepreneurs

In the last 8 years, Jesse and I have created two businesses. The whole point of this entrepreneur adventure, for us, is to share all we have with the world and hopefully by doing this, we’ve made someone’s life better. Oh, and we definitely dig mid-day bike rides and soaking up sunshine on the coast (which certainly has something to do with us living and loving this gig, too).

Since a quarter of my life has now been spent in entrepreneurship, and I’ve had approximately 97 meltdowns along the way, I figured I’d share with you what I do know. My lessons learned over the years. My 5 wisest words of advice for creative entrepreneurs…

Grace
Take it easy on yourself. No matter what you do or don’t do; no matter if you meet your expectations for yourself or not, give yourself some grace. We are our own worst enemies. Think of the respect, grace and understanding you offer your best friend when times are tough. Are you that kind to yourself? I know I’m not, a lot of the time, because perfectionism wiggles its way into my mind and I can be really hard on myself. But the more intentionally I work on grace, the less disappointed I am. I am happier, freer and actually more productive and successful.

Boundaries
There are two ways I’ve learned to use boundaries to my advantage. The first is probably the most obvious: establish boundaries for work/life balance. Shut the office door at night. Put fun, social, personal things on the calendar first each week, so you don’t run yourself into the ground. Create office hours. STICK TO THE OFFICE HOURS.

The second way is this: Guard your heart. Not everyone is going to understand, be interested in or possibly even support your ideas and decisions in entrepreneurship. That’s okay. Keep those relationships about something else. Don’t pour out your heart about your business dreams to these people if you know their response will disappoint you. There are so many people who DO get it (umm, hello, we’re right HERE!!!).

Strategy
The fastest way to get to where you want to be is by having a strategy. This comes in all shapes and sizes, for all sorts of things like networking, how you spend your time working on your business and in your business, social media advertising, marketing . . . you name it, you need to have a strategy for it!

Ask yourself: What is my purpose? What can I do with this partnership, Instagram post or conference I’m going to that will better my business and take me to the next level? How can I make this a win-win situation for everyone involved? If strategy isn’t your strength (yet), write one of these questions on a Post-it and put it on your computer as a reminder to guide your business in that direction.

Persistence
Those who make it to the top of the mountain have had plenty of crummy days in the valley. But the reason they “made it”? Persistence. You will doubt your dreams. You will want to give up, for good. Don’t do that! Instead, cry it out. Do some yoga. Just breathe, and maybe get yourself a brownie, too. And then, tweak your plan and try again. Repeat after me:

“Fear, pride, comparison, naysayers, self-doubt and failure will not stop me from living to my fullest potential.”

Use those challenges and setbacks to grow and position yourself as a leader whose ways are tried and true.

Gratitude
Gratitude is a cure-all. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy and experience true joy. And it’s the absolute BEST way to start your day. Even in the crappiest of situations, there’s something to be grateful for. Nothing is too little to go unnoticed either! Wake up each day and set the tone for all that’s to come. Make it a new habit to inject gratitude into your day.

Soon, this new habit will shape your new sunshiny perspective. This is HUGE when you’re a business owner because there will always be ups and downs. The more successful you become, the more potential there is for complicated challenges. Gratitude is one vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to a solid mindset.

No matter what situation I’m in or challenge I’m facing, one of these words is usually the answer. Try them out. Let me know what words have taught you the most and help you be and do everything you’ve dreamed up for your business!

Categories
Business

I’m So Over Instagram

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Don’t get me wrong; it’s my favorite social media platform. We normally rave about it. We even have a course teaching you how to use Instagram + Facebook ads. We know how powerful a tool it is to build relationships + make money. Buuuuut…

It’s causing people we know + love unneeded stress.
It’s stealing time from other profit-producing activities.
It’s making people feel like they’re not good enough or cool enough (including me, at times!)

Instagram is all the rage right now. We totally get it! It can help you do incredible things in your business. But I wanted to check in with you and ask you a few things I ask myself every now and then…

  1. Is the time you’re spending on Instagram taking away from other important parts of your business?
  2. Are you taking all this community and encouragement OFFLINE (partnerships, coffee dates, sending referrals to these new Insta-friends)?
  3. Do you feel life So-and-So’s success is making you jealous?
  4. Are you connecting with people on Insta that make sense for YOU and YOUR business to connect with?
  5. Are you missing out on real life relationships because you’re on Instagram or looking for an Insta-worthy moment?

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in exciting movements + #hashtags. I just wanted to shoot it to you straight today…

Remember who you are, what your strengths are and why you started this business in the first place. Use Instagram to connect, encourage and be real with your people. Just don’t let it steal your confidence, joy + too many hours of your life! Create a content plan and posting schedule. Get in and get out and get on with sharing your beauty + creativity with the rest of the world!

Go get ’em (on + offline)!

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Business

7 Things We Stand For

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Maybe you’ve been around for a while and you have a good idea of what we’re all about. Or, maybe you’re new to Idealust, new to us, and you’re thinking to yourself…

“Hmm. Becky + Jesse seem alright, but I’m just not quite sure yet.” That’s cool! We get it! There are LOTS of posts darting around out there in cyber space! But here’s the thing, we don’t want to be another random business that emails you about business coaching for creatives. We want to know what’s going on in your world (so we know how to best help you!) and we also want to be super transparent about who we are.

Sooooo…

In case you aren’t sure if you know what we’re all about or what we stand for, we figured we’d come right out and tell you 🙂

  1. We believe morning routines + date nights are sacred.
  2. We believe in getting outside of our comfort zones, in all areas of our life. Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) that feels awkward and uncomfortable. But, that’s the point. We know firsthand that’s where all the good stuff happens. What does this actually look like? Good question…
    • Going to CrossFit when we aren’t thrilled about the work out.
    • Getting in the same room with and building relationships with those who we admire.
    • Being frustrated that something isn’t working (even though we’ve tried a handful of times) in our business and not giving up. Tweaking our efforts and trying, YET AGAIN.
    • Adopting a baby!
  3. We believe that we discover our best ideas after soaking up copious amounts of sunshine and riding our beach cruisers or playing in the waves or hiking up mountains or taking road trips. Fresh air is, quite literally, one of our business partners. 😉
  4. We believe in doing what we were designed to do…and I don’t mean only with Idealust, I mean making the most out of absolutely everything we’ve been given (opportunities, skills, passions, etc.) and that’s why we feel so ALIVE!
  5. We believe we all have the freedom + capability to create the lives we want for ourselves.
  6. We believe that kindness + gratitude are key ingredients to being a successful entrepreneur.
  7. We believe that not everyone was created to be an entrepreneur, but those who are, well, it’s undeniable. Those dreams + ideas don’t fade away. You can’t sweep them under the rug. We believe there’s only one way to see if they’ll make it, and that’s to offer those dreams a chance. And we want to help you. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we started Idealust 🙂

I feel like maybe we can be friends now?

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Business

How to prevent entrepreneur overwhelm

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What we have for you here, is a little roundup checklist of years of experience: How to prevent entrepreneur overwhelm! Yes, you really can prevent it! And, it’s glorious when you do! These are the things we do so that hairy beast of a bad place doesn’t get to us in the first place.

Don’t wait until you feel like you’re going to crack, cave or cry. Be proactive! Start checking these things off the list and we promise your business will run smoother. You’ll feel happier and lighter.

Start a morning routine and stick with it!
☐Set realistic + SPECIFIC goals, that are still challenging.
☐Do ONE THING at a time. Multi-tasking is a myth.
☐Know what you want and be confident in going for it!
☐Get organized! Plan out your weeks.
☐Schedule YOU things (exercise, coffee dates, long lunch breaks) first, every week, every day.
☐Get your work to 90% and then move on. Done is better than perfect. Boycotting perfectionism is not being sloppy.
☐Do not go on social media until after 11am!
☐Read before you go to sleep, instead of scrolling through Instagram.
☐Know your ideal client so you can make fast marketing decisions that are valuable to her! Fast decisions = less time beating yourself up trying to figure it out = less overwhelm.
☐Tidy up your workspace. Shave your legs if you have to 😉
Stop procrastinating!
☐Read Essentialism and implement ASAP.
☐Surround yourself with like-minded people who just get it.

Adios, overwhelm!

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Business

7 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Breeze Through Setbacks

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We all do it. No matter how far we’ve come or how successful we are, we all do it every now and then. We FREAK OUT!!! PANIC!!! We feel like life is over because of a setback or failure that feels like a dagger through the heart. The intensity of how much we feel these setbacks is valid, considering the amount of effort and soul we pour into our work and businesses.

But I’m here to tell you that failing is fabulous! Because guess what, you’re likely in this place because you put yourself out there, tried something new and got outside of your comfort zone and that, no matter what the outcome, deserves something so much greater than what we have the tendency to reward ourselves with. And even though you feel like throwing in the towel, you have an opportunity to take this setback and turn the bus around!

So, when you’re in freak out mode because something didn’t go as well as you’d hoped and you’re panicking about the state of your business and the state of your perseverance, here are 7 ways entrepreneurs can breeze through setbacks and get back to your go-getting, confident, money-making self in no time.

1. Get it all out.
I’m a firm believer in purging yourself of all limiting beliefs, negativity, self-doubt, fear, disappointment, frustrations, etc. as soon as possible. Vent. Cry. Be upset. But give yourself a time limit for all of this, because you have some really important steps to take next. Whatever you do, don’t stop here.

2. Focus on what you already have.
This is a great time for gratitude. Think about how far you have already come! Think about all the people who have worked with you and raved about you, your products or services. Go ahead, read all your incredible reviews. Also, take inventory of your current clients’ satisfaction level. Is there anything you can do to improve their experience? Go do that.

3. Shift your mindset.
A big part of why that setback sent you reeling is likely because you haven’t been strengthening your mindset enough as you should be. Have you been sticking to your morning routine? Check out The Miracle Morning. Page through Think & Grow Rich. Get off social media for a few days; no need to compare yourself to others in this fragile state. Instead, work on getting your confidence back ASAP.

4. Create a game plan.
Think back to what got you through your last setback. What worked for you? Do those things! What didn’t? Don’t do those things! If you’ve veered from your strengths, get back to them! Do what you’re good at and confident in to gain traction and momentum.

5. Add value for others.
It’s so easy to be self-absorbed when things aren’t going our way. When all you can think about is how you wish you could just catch a break, go be that break for someone else. Get outside of yourself and see what you can do to help someone else succeed. I promise this will make you feel better AND by providing value for others, down the road, they will provide value for you.

6. Seek advice from the wise.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. A lot of times, the answer to your problem is simple and just requires you to do a little tweaking. Get advice from your coach, mentor or other successful entrepreneurs in your life. Learn from their challenges, setbacks, and failures. Model after their perseverance and strategies.

7. Trust in the process.
You’ve likely been here before. I have. I have been in that place numerous times over my 7 years as an entrepreneur, and you know what, it always works itself out. So, trust in the process. Know that you will have another chance to accomplish what you hoped to do the first time around. Use this setback to make version 2.0 that much better! And then, get back to work.

You got this!

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Business

What Do You Want to be Known For?

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If you could be truly excellent at only one thing, what would it be?

That’s a pretty intense question.

For all you Parks & Rec fans…”Am I right, Justin?”

In the sea of books that sits on our coffee table, I picked Essentialism, one I’ve been wanting to get to for a while. For me, in a time of big ideas, big moves, big decisions and big excitement in our life and business, it’s now more important than ever for me to stick to my guns. I like to help where I’m needed. I love to be part of all movements and ideas that support and encourage people to maximize their efforts and lives. I have a tendency to say YES! because I really do want to be part of all the rad things going on in this crazy creative entrepreneur world!

But guess what? If I say YES! to everything that comes my way, I’m letting other people’s agendas set the course and game plan for my time. If I say YES! to all that’s around me, I have to say NO! to the ideas and passions within me. Not sure about you, but I want to get those ideas and passions out in the world! I want to give them room to breathe, grow and manifest into the greatness I know there’s potential for them to be! And, in order for that to happen, I need to cut through all the noise and figure out what’s essential to me. What’s essential to our business. What’s essential in our life?

In this busy season of holiday parties, consumerism and high-demands, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed because you are also trying to make your dreams come true, and that takes time and effort and strategy. We encourage you to take some time to focus on these things, so you don’t get sucked up into the abyss…

What do you want to be known for?
What are you deeply passionate about?
What are your strengths and how do you enjoy using them?
What do you stand for?

Answer those questions. Prioritize all tasks that help you live a life and run a business that clearly represent who you are and what you’re working to achieve! Say NO! to the rest.

“We aren’t looking for a plethora of good things to do. We are looking for the one where we can make our absolutely highest point of contribution.” – Greg McKeown

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Business

Rip Off the Band-Aid

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You won’t see flat lays in our Instagram gallery.

A couple things to note before we get into this:

  1. In case you’re not familiar with the term flat lay, it’s this…styled photo of items. This could be: things on your desk, coffee + food, flowers, makeup, books, clothing, anything really! I’m sure you’ve seen them! They are typically clean, minimal + beautiful. An aerial view from above of a styled group of items.
  2. I do not dislike flat lays (I actually think they are very pretty!) or the incredibly creative + talented people I know (and don’t know) who curate, photograph and post them on their Instagram accounts. It’s just something I don’t do. It’s not how I think or dream or create.

And that’s okay.

In fact, it’s more than okay.

Think of that old saying…

“If So-and-So jumped off a bridge, would you?!” And we’re all like, “Duh! Of course not!”

But then we translate that to…

“If So-and-So (who happens to have 77K followers on Instagram) posts flat lays, does that mean you should to?!” And we’re all like, “Hmm. Not sure. Maybe?”

The answer is…
If you want to!
If it works for you!
If it works for your audience!
If it’s worth your time + efforts!
If it will get you where you want to go!

Once in a blue moon, you’ll see something sort of like a flat lay in our Instagram gallery. It’s not who we are, so we pour our energy elsewhere.

Now, this might seem suuuuuuper trivial. Like, who cares if we post a certain type of image on Instagram. But, it brings up such a vital topic, one we chat about regularly with our clients…

Just because successful So-and-So uses/writes/shoots/edits/says/acts/dresses/does anything a certain way (and it’s working really well for them), that doesn’t mean it’ll work well for you, or is you, for that matter. It’s less about the actual thing they’re doing that’s bringing success and more about how they’re tapping into their true, authentic self + brand…that’s what’s working for them.

This online world of comparison is getting out of hand. I see so many creatives trying so hard to be someone they’re not. And, I get it! It’s rough seeing her succeed when you’re trying hard and nothing is happening the way you want it to. But, I think that’s the problem…

Sometimes, we try too hard. We need to slough off the excess. The facade. The characteristics + decisions we’ve adopted + made because they worked for someone else. We need to say, “Forget flat lays! (And everything they represent in this example!)”

Get back to the core of your business. Get back to your talents. Your creative genius zone. Not hers.

Here are 3 questions you can ask yourself to get back to (or,  get to for the first time ever!) that space that is your very own, so you can make darn well sure that everything you’re putting out in the world (social media posts, emails, images, etc.) feels like and lines up with who you are + the essence of YOUR brand.

1. What are your strengths and are you making the most of them?
2. What do your clients + friends love about you?
3. What makes you different from others in your industry?

These are just 3 of the 16 questions we prompt you to work through in the first of four sections of our Brandmap. There are 4 key steps to creating a stand-out (and true to you!) brand in this noisy world. Being authentic (and ditching flat lays, if you want!) is the first piece of the puzzle.

TK finish…Brandmap button….

As you begin to gain confidence in your brand, you’ll find what works best for you. From there, you’ll create a masterpiece. A beautiful, successful business. A beautiful, honest life…

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Business

How to Stand Out in a Saturated Market

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There are more tools available, now more than ever, for people to start a business doing something they love. There is an unlimited supply of resources for those wishing to learn a new skill, trade or craft. ANYONE can start a business. We love that. That’s one reason we are so excited about what we do here. We truly believe anyone can build a successful business if they have the passion behind it and are willing to work for it.

The problem is, this isn’t a secret. Many folks see how fulfilling and freeing this life can be. So there are A LOT of ________________ (photographers, designers, craftsmen, Etsy shop owners, bloggers, etc.). Realizing the vast number of professionals in your industry and figuring out how to stand out among them can be overwhelming.

We know. We’ve been there.

We are wedding photographers in sunny San Diego. It is a VERY saturated market. Saturated with insanely talented, super cool and very smart photographers. Engaged couples have a tough choice to make here in San Diego. Learning to cut through the noise and stand out to these potential clients was a huge part of growing our business.

Here are 7 tips on how to stand out in a saturated market.

Define your ideal customer.

Many of us start with an idea of what kinds of people we want to work with and do work for, but that’s where it stops. DON’T STOP THERE! The more you know about your ideal customers, the better you can tailor your work (and the way you sell it) to them. Find out (you can ask past ideal clients) what kind of food they eat, where they shop, where they work, where they hang out, what they do for fun and what kind of clothes they wear. The more information the better.

Use that research to influence the language you use on your website and social media, where you advertise and even how you price your work.

Do business differently.

Big industry shifts often happen because someone new does something, well, NEW! Just because people have been doing something the same way for decades doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way of doing it. This is true in your branding, marketing and how you do business.

When trying something new, make sure you figure out how to tell (and have a timeline) if something isn’t working. At that point, it’s time to make some changes and try for a little longer, go back to how you were doing it before or come up with a completely new idea.

Create, don’t copy.

We all pride ourselves on creating something in our own style, but sometimes we find ourselves wanting to create work like someone else. And that’s great! Every artist finds inspiration from another artist at one point or another, but there is a very fine line between imitation and inspiration. Imitation won’t get you far.

Get out in the world.

Get in front of people (in person). Go to meetups, networking events and make coffee dates with other people in your industry (preferably people you respect, whose work you like and/or you think you could maybe be friends with). Building relationships with people that are in the same industry may seem counter intuitive, but if you have the right outlook and attitude, it can be extremely rewarding. You’ll get connected with awesome people that could be a great resource to you in the future (they may even refer work to you). You are also letting the world know you are serious about your business. That in itself does more than you might think.

Be yourself.

One of the easiest ways to stand out is to be yourself! Show some personality on your website, social media, emails, etc. If you are goofy, show some goofiness. If you are reserved, make a joke about how putting yourself out there on the internet makes you feel. Find a balance between personality and professionalism. This isn’t about reading the world your diary. It’s about giving your ideal customers a peek at who you are and giving them an opportunity to connect with you and/or your brand.

Be consistent with what you put out there. It helps people establish a more accurate look at what it would be like to work with you and is only affirmed when you get to connect with them over the phone, Skype or in person. It will also make them feel more comfortable and help you sell/book more.

Be willing to put in the work.

There are some things that will really benefit your business. Maybe it’s blogging regularly or posting relevant content on social media. It could be doing a weekly newsletter or making phone calls instead of writing emails. However, these things take time and effort. Not everyone is willing to put in the work. Stand out by putting in the work.

Be genuine.

People can spot BS far before they are close enough to step in it.

If you are truly doing something you love, being genuine easy. You don’t have to trick people into thinking you have a passion for what you do. Be authentic and genuine; it builds trust. Give people a true reason to connect with you and like you. Then, chances are, they’ll buy from you. Don’t risk that opportunity by telling an ideal client you are more experienced than you really are or by telling them you think what they are wearing is super cute when you don’t. Instead, focus on the good (and true) things.